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 Bending the Rules of Conventional Business

                                       Discover a Ne...

                                                                         By Michael Reining and Vishen Lakhi...
What caused our initial 3 years of failure? And what caused our later success?

We distilled our learnings into what we ca...
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  1. 1. AGILE ENTREPRENEURSHIP Bending the Rules of Conventional Business Discover a New Perspective on Quicker, Easier, Smarter Business Building. Revealed: 10 Powerful Ideas That Will Unleash Revenue Growth, Innovation-on-Demand and Revolutionary Best Practices — If You Dare Embrace It… 1|P a g e Agile Entrepreneurship – Bending the Rules of Conventional Business
  2. 2. Introduction By Michael Reining and Vishen Lakhiani H ow is work done in your organization? Is it  Freedom, rather than fear?  Peer-to-peer relationships, rather than paternalistic platitudes?  Engagement, rather than estrangement? If Agile Entrepreneurship is on your mind, you should know which side of the fence to be on. Our book is about the three desires that reside deep in the heart of every entrepreneur  Freedom – the ability to live a life on your own terms. To work from anywhere you want, when you want, and on the projects you want.  Impact – giving your talents and abilities maximum leverage so you can create huge changes in your industry or geography.  Success – whether you define it as money, influence, happiness or meaning. It’s about increasing the odds of you hitting your goal. Sounds simple, yet somehow the failure rate for entrepreneurs remains high. And among those that do see their businesses survive – a significant number end up with little freedom, moderate success and low impact. Mike and I plunged into the world of entrepreneurship to pursue these three grails of freedom, impact and success. And we almost failed. In fact, it was 3 years before we got our first successful business. Then, things started accelerating. After 5 years, we had two businesses. After 6 years; five businesses. Now, in year 7, we aim to own 10 businesses. 2|P a g e Agile Entrepreneurship – Bending the Rules of Conventional Business
  3. 3. What caused our initial 3 years of failure? And what caused our later success? We distilled our learnings into what we call Agile Entrepreneurship. We don’t claim to be immensely rich or super-skilled, but what we did find was that there are several simple mental shifts that can significantly increase your odds of success as an entrepreneur. Here’s what we discovered, almost by accident: It’s about launching businesses faster, significantly reducing your odds of failure, regaining your freedom, making more money — and most importantly, enjoying life more. What started out as a series of blog posts has now evolved into a simple little book dedicated to every entrepreneur who has fought the uphill climb towards to freedom, success and impact. Here’s a sample of what you will get in the 10 bite sized chapters:  One harsh revelation that humiliated me but unleashed an astonishing 332% boost in revenue  Our competitors steal our secrets — and we let them! How this unlikely strategy may save your business  Standard operating procedures – only for the stiff-necked bureaucratic corporation? WRONG! Discover four absolutely vital ways to use processes as your secret weapon to business automation and freedom.  The #1 hindrance to rapid business growth, and how to avoid it.  How one 4-quadrant diagram can show you how to hire 24 geniuses from 16 countries at 1/4 of the market rate. 3|P a g e Agile Entrepreneurship – Bending the Rules of Conventional Business
  4. 4.  PLUS: Blue-eyed vs. Brown-eyed. How a terrifying eugenics experiment in the 60’s holds the key to aligning your employee’s purpose and passion with the company’s growth.  PLUS: How you can use our simple TEDTalks-inspired strategy to accelerate employee learning by as much as 1200% — crazy as that sounds.  PLUS: Homegrown business partners: Our formula for rapidly transforming bright- eyed fresh-faced college graduates with totally no work experience into lethal internet entrepreneurs handling million-dollar projects — all in the space of 3 months and less.  And that’s just the beginning… Does This System Work? Don’t take our word for it. Your answer awaits you on the very next page. 4|P a g e Agile Entrepreneurship – Bending the Rules of Conventional Business
  5. 5. THE FOLKS AT WORLDBLU CALL IT ORGANIZATIONAL DEMOCRACY. There's a global search and an international award every year. Organizations are analyzed and rated... Selected companies make it to the List of Most Democratic Workplaces. MindValley is on the 2008 list. Congratulations to the other winners! There are 25 organizations from a diversity of industries, including a Fortune 500 company. Learn more about organizational democracy and the award from WorldBlu's site, or you can hear it from the WorldBlu CEO and founder, Traci Fenton in her video. 5|P a g e Agile Entrepreneurship – Bending the Rules of Conventional Business
  6. 6. About the Authors Our combined experience includes eBay, The Boston Consulting Group, Stanford, Microsoft, and Google. Together, we run MindValley Labs where we apply scientific, systematic testing procedures to internet marketing techniques. MICHAEL P. REINING Mike’s brings his internet marketing expertise from eBay as Head of New Venture Strategy, successful internet start-up iPlayMusic and now, MindValley. He was also an Associate Consultant for The Boston Consulting Group for two years, and has an MBA from Stanford. VISHEN M. LAKHIANI Before founding MindValley with Mike, he served both as Business Development Manager and as New York Director of Sales for LegalMatch.com, driving its growth from a small operation in a San Francisco apartment to a 100-employee business within 2 years. He was also a former web developer at Microsoft, and Vice-President of AIESEC USA, a non-profit based in New York. 6|P a g e Agile Entrepreneurship – Bending the Rules of Conventional Business
  7. 7. Table of Contents What is Agile Entrepreneurship? ………………………………………….…….….…...……8 The Job Quadrant……………………………………………………………..……….....……10 A Counter-Intuitive Hiring Strategy to Attract Rock Stars and Super Heroes To Work With You Inside-out Sourcing………………………………………………………………….…....….…19 How to use quot;Inside-out-sourcingquot; and the 6 letter organization not many entrepreneurs know about to tap into an endless supply of quality job applicants Entrepreneurs, not employees…………………………………………………………………24 Hiring entrepreneurs, home-grown business partners, and other management innovations Work on your business - not in your business…………………………………….………….26 The most valuable lesson in growing a business… is to stop working in it. How to use processes to increase freedom, not bureaucracy…………………………..……30 How to use processes to increase freedom, not bureaucracy Turn organization learning into organizational doing………………..……………….…….34 Turn organizational learning into organizational doing: How to jack up your company’s internal growth hormones Marketing First …………………………………………………………………….….………36 The forgotten meaning of marketing: How your company could be bleeding potential profits and no one would know about it! Is There A “Smart” Way To Innovate?... ……………………………….……….....………..40 The Deadliest Innovation Mistake An Entrepreneur Can Ever Make Radical Transparency……………………………………………………….…..……………..42 Radical Transparency: Why opening up your business to the world can help you grow Core Identity: ……………………………………………………………………..…..………..44 The mysterious mind-hack, which can bring the best out of your team members 7|P a g e Agile Entrepreneurship – Bending the Rules of Conventional Business
  8. 8. What is Agile Entrepreneurship? I DE A S , L E S S O N S A N D C A S E S T U DI E S B AS E D O N E X P E RI M E NT S WI T H A G I L E E NT R E P R E NE U R S H I P By Michael Reining and Vishen Lakhiani Perhaps you've heard it all before. Perhaps you know about the need for quot;agilityquot; or quot;adaptabilityquot; from the realms of personal development, software development, manufacturing, or management. After all, when you can no longer plan, predict, and control everything in your business environment, you may choose to mutate quickly, adapt, and dominate. That sums up Agile Entrepreneurship in a way, but let's face it. Nobody wants to be “agile” for the sake of being agile. I doubt you're interested in becoming quot;agilequot; for agility sake. Especially if you're more interested in growing a business. We were exactly like that when we first started out 4 years ago. All we cared about was getting our product out, and getting money in. However, we also had a burning desire to Achieve more Succeed sooner Have more fun and excitement at work Perhaps you're interested in that, too. We wanted it so badly that we tried a couple of crazy ideas and made a pile of mistakes. We were forced to transform our company countless times just to keep growing. 8|P a g e Agile Entrepreneurship – Bending the Rules of Conventional Business
  9. 9. Along the way, we had to use the very best management and marketing tactics (including a wild card or two) to get ahead. We had to bend the rules of business. Today, we're a profitable, award-winning, privately funded internet business incubator. We grow e-commerce businesses. We grow social web applications. With 10 concurrent ventures, and 1 new venture every months, some of our ventures make up to $1 million in revenue a year, some have just only begun. More importantly, we grow entrepreneurs. We've got (at the time of writing) a team of 22 of the bright minds from 16 countries in the same room. We also make the List of Most Democratic Workplaces. Are we based in the Silicon Valley? No. We do all of this from a bungalow in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (a stone's throw from some the world's most exotic vacation spots) and have scholars and entrepreneurs visit us, and come work with us, just to see how we do what we do. We call ourselves MindValley. Solid Examples of Agile Entrepreneurship We'll share a few stories about our experiences, and how you can help your business by adopting Agile Entrepreneurship to  Speed up execution and decision making  Speed up the rate of discovering what works, and what doesn't We will be sharing honest accounts of the stuff we tried, what worked, and deadly mistakes you must avoid in your quest to grow your business. There will be examples of radical thinking that can help any small business and entrepreneur achieve more freedom and success, in less time. 9|P a g e Agile Entrepreneurship – Bending the Rules of Conventional Business
  10. 10. The Job Quadrant: A C O U N T E R - I NT U I T I V E H I R I N G S TR A T E G Y T O A T T R A CT RO CK S TA RS AND S U P E R H E R O E S T O W OR K WI T H Y OU By Vishen Lakhiani Think It's Too Expensive To Pull High-Caliber People To Join Your Team? I Dare You to Think Again I met a couple of entrepreneurs at a recent seminar in Orlando. Although their ventures are very successful and conversation with them was inspiring, I noticed how busy they seemed. Not just busy, but busy as hell, in fact. As our conversation progressed, they told me they were having trouble hiring great people to join their team. I wasn’t surprised. I’ve spoken to many startup founders, entrepreneurs and even established Internet marketing gurus. They seem to have the same problem. They struggle to attract A-quality talent to their companies. And when you can’t get quality candidates on board, you can’t delegate enough. And if you can’t trust your team’s abilities, you can never build a truly Agile business machine. 10 | P a g e Agile Entrepreneurship – Bending the Rules of Conventional Business
  11. 11. People have told many different reasons why they struggle in this area. One reason many people tell me is they can’t afford quality talent. They just can’t afford to pay high caliber employees! I’ve always tried to dissuade people from thinking that the #1 thing job applicants are looking for is salary! Why? Because there are several things in play when attracting high caliber people to work for your company. When you show your company’s appeal in all these aspects, people will want to work with you. It’s worked for us, and one you’ve seen the formula, you can make it work for you as well. Let me share with you some of our hiring statistics. In MindValley, we get applications from all over the world. Our current team consists of 25 people from 16 countries. We now have citizens of the USA, Colombia, Poland, Russia, Slovakia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Estonia, Germany, Belgium, Iran, Yemen, Zimbabwe and Canada working on our team. These are people who could’ve gotten jobs anywhere else in the world. Meike, from Germany, even turned down an offer from Google, preferring to join us instead for a salary a quarter of what she would have earned had she chosen to work for Google. We also have solo-entrepreneurs coming to work at MindValley for no pay, just for the opportunity to observe our company dynamics and exchange ideas with other people on our team. These “visiting guests” include Silicon Valley execs that want to observe new venture design, as well as MBA students volunteering as interns so they can write about company culture for their Master’s Thesis on Organizational Design. High caliber people are always looking for something more, and MindValley is set up in a way that attracts them because we stumbled upon the right combination to tap into their subconscious desires. A-class people are motivated and driven by very different things –fun experiences, intense learning environments, and a deeper sense of purpose. 11 | P a g e Agile Entrepreneurship – Bending the Rules of Conventional Business
  12. 12. When you visit our “now hiring” page, you’ll see that one of the first things we say is that we are reinventing “work”. We outline the 10 reasons why applicants should choose to work with us, and we talk not only about work, but also about life while working in MindValley. What can you offer your prospective employees? The reason we’ve been able to attract A-class people to work on our team in encapsulated in what we call the Job Quadrant. The Job Quadrant By looking at the four pieces of the job quadrant puzzle, you can easily recognize where you’re going wrong. So, if you’re trying to attract top talent based on money or learning alone you won’t get them, simply because you’re missing 3 other pieces of the puzzle. Different industries and roles have variations of the job quadrant. For example,  Money e.g. Financial markets, banking sectors, etc  Fun e.g. Adventure travel and tours, etc  Learning e.g. Academia and other institutions, etc  Purpose e.g. non-profits, environmental agencies, etc 12 | P a g e Agile Entrepreneurship – Bending the Rules of Conventional Business
  13. 13. Using MindValley as an example, let’s take a look at each piece of the quadrant puzzle, and how we use it to help us get the right people on board. Money THERE’S ACTUALLY MORE TO LIFE THAN MONEY It’s almost weird, but money seems much less important to A-class people. I’ve found that the more educated a person is, and the wider their skill set, the less money matters to them. You’ll notice that jobs that are mostly not fun, not going to teach you anything, nor give you a sense of fulfillment will try to compensate by paying you more money. Candidates who don’t care about anything but money go for those jobs. Garbage collectors, for example, make quite a lot of money. Often, they are people driven by the need for money. Perhaps it’s due to unfavorable social circumstances, or their mindset and perception, but more often than not they’re people who are willing to make sacrifices in order to get the higher paying job. This observation has caused a huge change in the way we hire our team. Personally, I’d hate to work with people who aren’t sufficiently motivated by learning, fun, or purpose. So now, as an example of how differently we position ourselves on the market, we don’t use money as the selling point of our job positions. By highlighting everything else in the Job Quadrant, and not stating expected income when we promote our jobs, we can filter out people who are motivated solely by money. (make sure you’re subscribed to our list, as we’ll be sending out examples of our most successful job campaigns). We can safely say that the brightest talent we’ve attracted costs a quarter of what it would cost in USA, plus they get better quality of life than they would in the USA. Adventure, travel, and the metropolitan city, are all at a fraction of what it would cost to have fun in San Francisco, for example. While other companies talk about job titles and money, you can out-do them by placing emphasis on other parts of the job quadrant, such as…fun. Fun 13 | P a g e Agile Entrepreneurship – Bending the Rules of Conventional Business
  14. 14. PROMISE A FUN LIFESTYLE, NOT A J-O-B Take for example, Janne, a member of our team. Janne is a Ruby on Rails programmer from Finland. His skill makes him hot on the wanted market list. His friend in Finland was telling him how excited he was to visit South East Asia, adding that he’d been working himself into the ground all year, saving up for a trip to Thailand. He was wondering when would be a good time for Janne to accompany him. Janne had to tell him that because he’s working in MindValley, he could go to Thailand any weekend he wants. This is the kind of lifestyle we’ve tried to create for our team. When we set up shop in Malaysia, we knew it was an ideal location for people who want the combined lifestyle of freedom and work. Because our office is in Malaysia, it’s only a stone’s throw from the world’s most beautiful beaches and tropical rainforests. We make it so that the work schedule allows people time to escape and explore the Tioman Islands, or to fly to Phuket, Thailand for the weekend. For the kind of people we want to attract, fun also means working with quirky, well- traveled, open-minded, intelligent people. People who enjoy networking, connecting with like-minded people, hanging out in Starbucks, surfing the net, coming up with big ideas and discussing them with other who also happen to enjoy taking frequent vacations to exotic beaches. Great people enjoy working alongside other great people. 14 | P a g e Agile Entrepreneurship – Bending the Rules of Conventional Business
  15. 15. If you visit our website, you’ll notice something different. We put the profiles of our most brilliant people, and we’ve been told that’s why many candidates choose to apply. (It also attracts a lot of headhunters and poaching, but we’re not afraid.) Great people love to share and bounce their ideas off other great people who are limited in their scope and vision. This is why great people grow. Allowing them to see whom they’ll be interacting with and working alongside shows them that we’re interested in their growth and development, not in stifling their talent and abilities. Purpose HIGHLIGHT YOUR DEEPER PURPOSE Whether you’re in a non-profit or a web2.0 software development company, there’s a deeper purpose to your business, be it saving the manatee or developing beautiful user interfaces people can use to connect and network online, allow your team to explore their own expressions of that purpose. We operate in the personal development industry, and because our products help people to grow, we strive to do the same internally...otherwise we’d be hypocrites. While working with us, we help our employees and give them opportunities to grow into entrepreneurs and joint venture partners (you’ll find out more about this in another post). We believe that “business” and “saving the world” can be said in the same sentence, and we’re not shy about it. Many high caliber people feel the same. You’ll see that members of our team have experience with not-for-profit organizations and volunteer work. It’s in our blood. It’s in theirs, too. They’re blessed with opportunities, talent, and resources, and most of the time, they are the kinds of people who want to give back. Help them on their mission, and they’ll want to be part of yours. If you’ve never really given it much thought, if you step back and look at your business I’d bet that there’s a deeper purpose to the reason WHY you’re in the business. You need to 15 | P a g e Agile Entrepreneurship – Bending the Rules of Conventional Business
  16. 16. make it clear to everyone on your team so that you can work together to achieve it, focusing your energies towards the same direction. This brings us to the next segment of the quadrant… Learning PROVIDE INTENSE LEARNING EXPERIENCES When I first spoke to Mike Williams, I was intrigued by the business he was running. He is the co-inventor of a patented, portable Hookah. Even while he was busy growing his business, he had a deep desire to master marketing on the Internet. That’s why he joined MindValley. But, he wanted to learn all of it. Right Now. Many high caliber people are like that. They want to learn a lot, and they don’t want to do it by the book. They want to immerse themselves in it. They want to get their hands dirty and become a master. And they want to do it fast, because they know they can. For this reason, we offer them the most hardcore Internet marketing training they can ever get. We run intensive, twice weekly training sessions on Internet marketing and personal development, we pay for all learning products, and more importantly, we have a fine-tuned process to turn the learning into doing (which we will detail in another post). Within the first 6 months, fresh college kids can implement marketing campaigns for million dollar projects with no supervision. Top talent learns very fast! They'll very soon return the favor by becoming better than you are at whatever it is you're teaching them, thereby adding tremendous value to your business. Next Step 16 | P a g e Agile Entrepreneurship – Bending the Rules of Conventional Business
  17. 17. USE THE JOB QUADRANT TO DESIGN THE ULTIMATE TALENT MAGNET Redesign your job advertising. How would you put the job quadrant apply into action? Look at our jobs page for inspiration. Can you pick up how we've used the job quadrant to design even our job roles? Have you designed your job in such a way that it appeals to the kind of person you want to attract? It’s sad that although so many companies do have great opportunities mot just for money but also for fun, learning and purpose, they never showcase these in their advertising. Think, how will you promise fun for a candidate? What sort of learning experience can you create for them? What’s the deeper purpose of your business? Imagine you’re interviewing a candidate right now. What kind of questions would you ask them in order to make sure they’re the right fit for your company? What objectives would you now try to achieve in your hiring strategies? What areas are you overlooking that could otherwise appeal to and draw A-class talent to work with you? When you know what you’re looking for and you ask the right questions to draw out your prospects, you’ll find that their answers will reveal a lot of their deeper motivations. Their answers reveal if they fundamentally fit into what you have to offer. How Does This Relate To Agile Entrepreneurship? Jim Collins said it best. His extensive study of “good” companies versus “great” companies revealed... Great companies focus on getting the right people on your team before deciding where to go. More importantly, he cited three reasons why. Two of those 3 reasons relate directly to Agile Entrepreneurship.  Adaptability. The right people on the bus make adaptation to changing realities much easier. They will figure out what needs to be done when direction changes.  Motivation: The right people are self-motivated. They want to be part of something great. They will do what’s necessary to produce greatness. 17 | P a g e Agile Entrepreneurship – Bending the Rules of Conventional Business
  18. 18. (Read more in detail here, and in his book, Good to Great). Assembling a core team of adaptable and motivated individuals is essential for Agile Entrepreneurship. These are people you can train, and trust. These are people who can steer the ship, with or without you. A team of adaptable, motivated individuals will fuel adaptable, motivated work culture. Anything less will hinder your success. 18 | P a g e Agile Entrepreneurship – Bending the Rules of Conventional Business
  19. 19. Inside Out-Sourcing: H O W T O U S E quot; I NS I D E - OU T - S O U R C I NG quot; A ND TH E 6 - L E T T E R O RG A NI Z A T I O N NO T M ANY E N T R E P R E N E U R S K N O W A B O U T T O TA P I NT O AN E NDL E S S S U P P L Y O F QU A L I T Y J OB AP P L I CA NT S By Mike Reining MindValley first started out in New York, despite the high costs of operating a business and hiring talent there. It consisted of three people –Vishen and his wife Kristina, and me. We were excited and raring to go, and when we looked around, everyone else was outsourcing to India, so naturally, outsourcing seemed like a good idea because we figured being in the US, outsourcing work to people in a developing country would give us a flexible workforce and save us some money. I know some companies who do really well with outsourcing, but we weren’t so fortunate. Using eLance, we found the first company…it was from Bangladesh, with an office on Wall Street. The company turned out to be a scam, and they ran away with our money. The “office” on Wall Street disappeared. It’s true. I’m not here to slam outsourcing, and don’t deny that it has its place. We just had a bad experience. Fortunately, we only lost our $1000.00 deposit, and no more. We were somewhat disillusioned but still hopeful, so we tried again. We had a great idea we knew would work –we wanted to bring everything to the user’s fingertips, right on their home page. But 5 months later, we were still pushing our programmer to produce the quality of work we needed. 8 months later, we were so frustrated because it was still the same story. They developed a web application exactly the way we wanted it, 12months too late because almost ironically in the 11th month, someone else launched an application similar to what we were working towards. At this point, Vishen left his job to focus on MindValley full time. This was tricky, as Vishen was married but not a US citizen. Quitting his job meant losing his H1 Visa and permission to work in the US. 19 | P a g e Agile Entrepreneurship – Bending the Rules of Conventional Business
  20. 20. He considered taking MindValley somewhere else. Since his wife’s Estonian, and he’s from Malaysia, they were deciding between Europe and Malaysia for MindValley’s new home –a very difficult decision even after researching our options. So Vishen, Kristina, and I found ourselves in the heart of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Little did we know that being in Malaysia laid the foundation to what would later be known as our secret weapon in winning the talent war… If you asked me right now, I can tell you frankly that moving to Malaysia turned out to be the best decision we ever made. Kuala Lumpur is a very modern city, and is a stone’s throw from exotic holiday destinations. Over the years, we refined the way we work and MindValley has evolved as we’ve learned new processes and systems, and sought to bring talent from all corners of the world to us. We stumbled upon a concept more powerful than outsourcing, and it’s funny because it happened almost by accident! We now have 26 bright people from 16 different countries (and counting), at local salaries, about 1/4 the price we would have to pay them if they were employed in the USA. Our local salaries are competitive, allowing them better quality of life here, compared even to 3,000 US Dollars in the USA. But still, why would they pack their bags? Having already read the Job Quadrant, you’re already in on the secret. Of course, we use the rest of the Job Quadrant as well to really attract the kind of talent we needed. People who hear about what we do don’t know what to call it. So we joked about calling it “Inside-out-sourcing”, and the name stuck. Inside-Out-Sourcing’s Best Friend First, a very brief history lesson. I really don’t mean to bore you, but after reading this section you’ll really catch my drift of how you can leverage on this crazy powerful resource. 20 | P a g e Agile Entrepreneurship – Bending the Rules of Conventional Business
  21. 21. The idea started in the 1930s when representatives from schools across Europe exchanged information about various programs and schools that specialized in business and economy. By the late ’30s, students were carrying out internships in other countries, mostly at their own incentive, but it all came to a standstill with the onslaught of World War II. Informal activity “to help develop ‘friendly relations’ between member countries” began in 1946, with the goal “to expand the understanding of a nation by expanding the understanding of the individuals, changing the world one person at a time.” They describe themselves as “The international platform for young people to discover and develop their potential so as to have a positive impact on society”. It’s called AIESEC - the world’s largest student organization, offering internships and traineeships all around the world. Its international office is currently in Rotterdam, Netherlands. AIESEC is a real gem for those who know about what they do. AIESEC is cool. Originally an acronym for Association Internationale des Étudiants en Sciences Économiques et Commerciales, AIESEC is an international, non-profit, non-political, organization run by students and recent graduates of institutions of higher education. As of February 2008, the network includes 25,000 students in 105 countries at over 1100 universities across the globe, and realizing around 5000 exchanges yearly. Although a lot of people don’t know about AIESEC, we had AIESEC in mind from day one. Both Vishen and I were part of AIESEC as university students. Through AIESEC, Vishen had the experience of working as a programmer in Bulgaria, and I worked in Turkey as a marketer. It’s the perfect place to connect with adventurous, highly qualified, knowledge workers - a perfect complement for the company who inside-out sources. Today, about a third of our people come from AIESEC, and we have to turn away really good candidates on a daily basis, just to allow only the best in through the door. However, really talented people want more than a “job”. They want a lifestyle. 21 | P a g e Agile Entrepreneurship – Bending the Rules of Conventional Business
  22. 22. Being In An Exotic Country Is The Ultimate A-Class Lifestyle Dream! And AIESEC is full of forward thinking students who look for work experience in foreign countries. Is it worth moving countries, continents even? Definitely yes. For the first few months, Vishen and Kristina were in Malaysia and I was working all the way from New York. The moment I stepped off the plane, I knew it was the best thing – ever. For some strange reason I have never understood, people seem to think that they have to be located where their customers are. Unless you are running and brick-and-mortar “mom and pop” store, I totally disagree. MindValley is proof that you don’t need to be in Miami or Seattle or New York to run with your business and thrive. This never fails to bring to mind the term “lifestyle design” –coined by Tim Ferriss in his book, the 4 hour workweek. 1. Find a beautiful place with affordable cost of living, somewhere you enjoy and have dreamt of living. 2. Talk to your wife. 3. Move there. 4. Attract high a high caliber work force. This is one way to really tap into the power of the job quadrant. Like I said before, smart and talented people want a lifestyle more than they want a “job”. Use location to maximize the appeal of the other sectors of the quadrant. Using what Malaysia has to offer, we’ve designed a phenomenal work-life-style. Whenever possible, which is most of the time, we ban work on weekends. Our team has flexible work schedules, allowing them to travel to the world’s most exotic jungles and beaches. These days, most inside-outsourced hires come in on a 2 year contract, but I think that when you create such a dream job/dream lifestyle for your team, almost all of them extend their contracts! 22 | P a g e Agile Entrepreneurship – Bending the Rules of Conventional Business
  23. 23. SUPERTIP: In Malaysia, we don’t pay taxes. Incredible? Absolutely. Technology companies in Malaysia are exempt from paying taxes. How Does This Relate To Agile Entrepreneurship? Inside-out sourcing isn’t for everyone. That’s the unvarnished truth. But if you’re in a position to start doing this and you are daring enough, here’s how… Think of a country you’d like to live in. Maybe it’s in the Caribbean, maybe it’s in Malaysia. Think of a country that is fun, you can live for about two years, and operating costs are less than it would cost in the USA. Go there, and set up an operation hub. Use the Job quadrant to redefine your workplace, job ads and job positions. Use AIESEC, connect with the local AIESEC chapter, and advertise the lifestyle and work environment of the future. With inside outsourcing, you could find yourself free from paying taxes, cut your expense on wages by up to 400%, and create jobs that seem more like an adventure and travel than a mundane chore. 23 | P a g e Agile Entrepreneurship – Bending the Rules of Conventional Business
  24. 24. Entrepreneurs, Not Employees H I R I N G E N T R E P R E N E U R S , H O M E - G RO W N B US I NE S S P AR T NE R S , A ND O T H E R M A N A G E M E N T I NNO V A T I O NS By Vishen Lakhiani Agile entrepreneurship, by nature, requires working with true blue entrepreneurial characters. Can you hire them? Should you hire them? Aren't they the people most likely to leave the company? If you prize rapid ideation, execution, failing fast, and succeeding soon, you have no choice. The only way is to have entrepreneurs on your team. We have been feeling this out for 2 years now, and we have these results to share with you. As I'm writing this, I have 25 people from 16 different countries in our work space. They are smart in their own way, and many of them have started and run their own ventures and projects before joining us. All of them are in their 20's. They come on board for 1 to 2 year contracts. I know I would be living a lie, if I promoted entrepreneurship, at the same time try to keep my employees and locked into a traditional job. So we made a deal with our entrepreneurs- to-be. If they played the part, we would do a profit share, as though they are coming into the business as a joint venture partner. For example, an employee could own 10 to 50% of a new business, and we’ll even split the profits with them every month accordingly. In the past 5 months, we've extended joint venture deals to 5 of them. What’s The Big Idea? 24 | P a g e Agile Entrepreneurship – Bending the Rules of Conventional Business
  25. 25. Bring in someone with entrepreneurial experience and tendencies, Surround them with similar people, and a steep learning curve. Train them to run ahead with projects with their heads in decision making, and their hands on execution. And encourage them to learn whatever it takes to grow into a business partner. Make the qualified people on your team your business partners. The goal is for them to quickly grow and automate their role in the business. We have built businesses that pull in $1 million a year, maintained by only one employee. Now if we could replicate this without an employee, but with an employee turned entrepreneur/ partner, it would work out very well for the both MindValley and the individual. In a way, we're growing our own business partners. How Does This Relate To Agile Entrepreneurship? Companies miss the future when they mistake the temporary for the timeless; and today, just about everything is temporary. ~ The Future of Management, by Gary Hamel When you operate in a chaotic, fast paced industry, you'll need an endless supply of people who can come in, hit the ground running, take on new projects, and make them great. And you can't expect them to stick around and be there for you forever. How we decided to grow our new venture partners in-house is just one of our many management innovations. Depending on your business environment, you may like to try something else. As we bend the rules of business together, I hope you can come back to us to check out what works for people and what doesn't, and contribute your own stories. 25 | P a g e Agile Entrepreneurship – Bending the Rules of Conventional Business
  26. 26. Work On Your Business - Not In Your Business T H E M OS T V A L U A B L E L E S S O N I N G RO W I NG A B US I NE S S …I S T O S T O P W OR K I NG I N I T. By Vishen Lakhiani There was a 4 to 6 month period of my life at which point I was completely caught up with maintaining the business more than anything else. It was routine ‘grunt work’ and ‘putting out fires’. I wasn’t really growing the business at all. It was an extremely miserable period of my life. I needed a break! So, I decided to fly off to Phuket, Thailand, for a much needed vacation. Okay. What I'm going to talk about now might sound a bit quot;out therequot;... But you know how sometimes, when you ask questions, answers come out of nowhere, in the strangest ways? Well, here’s what happened to me, unvarnished truth. I was browsing the airport bookstore, and I picked up a book entitled “THE E-MYTH”. I love books about technology, and I thought E was for electronic – but on the plane, I realized E actually stood for entrepreneur. 26 | P a g e Agile Entrepreneurship – Bending the Rules of Conventional Business
  27. 27. I was totally suckered into the book! But, as it turned out, one lesson from the book single- handedly saved my business (and helped it to quot;take offquot;). The book’s author, Michael Gerber, described a trap that many entrepreneurs fall into, and they get so caught up with running the business that they reach a point at which they can no longer grow the business… And guess what? I was caught in that trap! The book also taught me what I needed to do to get out of the trap. First, I stopped doing the nitty-gritty stuff myself. I invested in training and delegating as much as I could. Mike and I hired Nicole, our office manager and multi-tasking assistant. Because I used to handle most of the copywriting, we also hired a professional copywriter. We also hired more programmers and designers to put new technology and processes in place to automate some of the tasks. It took 6 months to get everything off our backs, and 3 months later our revenues doubled. The Secret… Finally, Mike and I were free to working on the high value tasks – not mere business maintenance tasks any longer, but tasks that helped the business GROW. When in the office, we spent 80% of our time focusing on growth. Let’s take a closer look at this valuable lesson. Which Tasks = Maintenance? Any task that does not add any long terms benefits to the business. This would include tasks like bookkeeping, replying non-crucial emails and the like… Which Tasks = Growth? Any tasks that continuously add value. For us, it meant training our team, applying a new sales strategy, building relationships with new partners, automating customer support, or writing new sales copy with which to increase perpetual revenue… Somewhere in between, there’s short term revenue. 27 | P a g e Agile Entrepreneurship – Bending the Rules of Conventional Business
  28. 28. Tasks such as running a promotion on your products or making sales calls give you immediate revenue, which is good, but they don’t pay off long term. Remaining “busy” on maintenance related tasks is working IN your business, and that’s not the most ideal use of your time. Executing tasks that help business growth is working ON your business, which is what makes all the difference. How Do You Put This Into Action? Keep track of what kind of tasks you’re focused on by time-logging every 2 weeks. Time logging can help you  Get quot;morequot; done in less time.  quot;Work smartquot;  Focus your energy on the 20% of things that produce 80% of your results (and ignoring the other 80% of non-critical tasks). What is Time Logging? Time Logging is a method for developing a higher awareness of how you use your time. Once you know how you are using your time, you can very easily focus your time on the most meaningful tasks. What If YOU Logged Your Time Every 30 Minutes? This means every 30 minutes, you make a note of what you're doing at that given moment. At the end of your day, you'll have a snapshot of how your time is used. Getting Started With Time Logging STEP ONE: Choose your tool.  Just use pen and paper, or a spreadsheet to make notes of what you’re doing every 30 minutes. 28 | P a g e Agile Entrepreneurship – Bending the Rules of Conventional Business
  29. 29.  Use Time logging with screenshots  Use this online Flash Based App STEP TWO: Start time logging now! Do this for 5 days, and share your feelings with everyone. STEP THREE: Look at your 5 day time log and ask,  Did I spend my time on really high-value tasks?  How should I better spend the next 5 days? Personally, when I first started time logging I noticed that I only used 20% of my time on true growth tasks. Today, it’s up to 95%. How Does This Relate To Agile Entrepreneurship? Imagine if everyone on your team time-logged every now and then. Everyone, not only yourself, could look into how they spent their time and consciously find ways to focus on the most valuable tasks. You could even find ways to automate / eliminate maintenance tasks. Your organization will instantly be more aware and in charge of its direction as opposed to reacting to the market and the daily chores. And finally, the founders of the company will not get stuck working IN the business... but be free to work on growing the business. 29 | P a g e Agile Entrepreneurship – Bending the Rules of Conventional Business
  30. 30. How To Use Processes To Increase Freedom, Not Bureaucracy H OW T O U S E P R O C E S S E S T O I NCR E A S E F R E E D O M , NO T B U RE A U CR A CY By Mike Reining When I first started out on my own, I used to say, quot;I hate processes.quot; I was one of those people who had worked at large companies and felt the weight of the bureaucracy –partly due to the sheer amount of processes we needed to follow to get things done. I didn’t want any of that for my startup. The idea of quot;sticking to a processquot; and quot;following a systemquot; seemed like a distant nightmare I didn’t have to deal with anymore. I thought I was free... I was excited to quot;thrive in chaosquot;, so to speak. So… we started off with almost no ‘formal’ processes and no ‘set’ ways of doing even repetitive tasks. And boy, were we slowing ourselves down! We kept reinventing new ways of doing the same little things. Over and over again! For example, we would launch each e-commerce website a different way. Because we had no records or systems in place, we had trouble remembering the best ways to tweak our sites. We really should have agreed on a standard process for rolling these sites out right from the get-go. The same mistake bled into our non-existent customer support system. Even internal knowledge sharing was poorly coordinated, resulting in one too many emails with attachments flying back and forth. 30 | P a g e Agile Entrepreneurship – Bending the Rules of Conventional Business
  31. 31. The cost of being inefficient became obvious, but this also turned out to be a blessing in disguise. As our team size and workload grew, a few processes emerged organically. We didn't invent processes we didn't need. Instead, we agreed on ways to get things done, innovated on those which worked, and chucked away those that didn't help. Very soon, I found many reasons to love processes! You Can Fall In Love With Processes Too!  Processes, designed a certain way, can help you find freedom!  Repetitive tasks can get done much faster  Useful processes make it easier to train new team members, and to delegate tasks  If you can identify HOW you accomplish a task – you can more quickly improve it, and even automate it! One example is how we automated our pay-per-click advertising –a lot of our online sales use pay-per-click advertising. We discovered that the processes we followed to maximize the return on campaigns were a sequence of steps that didn’t change, no matter which campaign we were optimizing. Even if I trained someone to do the campaign optimizing for me, it could be fun at first, but doing it over and over again for weeks (especially a task as repetitive as this) was an ideal opportunity for innovating on the process. You can find a smarter way to do it, you can find a better tool, or you can build one. When I really got serious about documenting the process, I worked with my team to write some software to do the PPC optimization that I would need a week to do... in a matter of minutes! More Tips on How to Develop Useful Processes 1. Do not develop a process when you're not solving a problem, or speeding anything up. 31 | P a g e Agile Entrepreneurship – Bending the Rules of Conventional Business
  32. 32. 2. Any task you do repetitively – speed it up, or automate it! Here are some small examples from our adventures in designing useful processes: a. We standardized everything about launching a new sales site. We used to take a week to design and launch a full e-commerce website – now, we take only 4 hours because all the moving pieces are standardized and reusable, and a lot of the thinking which goes into doing it right has been documented. b. Even small things like the recruiting process. During interviews, Vishen would spend the same 20 minutes “selling” MindValley to good candidates. Therefore, we recorded a YouTube video of him instead, and the qualified candidates are invited to watch him. We invested one hour in noting this process, and automating it... but it went on to save one hour a week of Vishen's time, every week. 3. For a process to reap benefits, the people must follow through with it. quot;Imposingquot; a new process leaves a bad emotional aftertaste on people’s minds. Instead, get them rallying behind a common goal (like alleviating a frustration, or speeding up their work etc) and get their advice on implementing new processes. 4. In MindValley, many of our new process designs are led by everyone but the founder. In fact, our internal knowledge-sharing wiki and process-documentation agreement was spearheaded by new members of our team! 5. Always quot;tryquot; a new process. It's easier to get people to commit to trying a new process. And always remember to be clear about measuring its benefits. 6. Be prepared to change, tweak, or get rid of useless processes. 32 | P a g e Agile Entrepreneurship – Bending the Rules of Conventional Business
  33. 33. How Does This Relate To Agile Entrepreneurship? Isn't agility about flexibility and the ability to react, as opposed to predicting and controlling? Having a process does not mean you lose out on being flexible and being reactive! In fact, it helps you to focus your energy on more high value tasks. By using processes to speed up decision making in your company, you spend less decision- making time on repetitive / low value tasks. You can draw examples from extremely process-heavy organizations like Starbucks or McDonalds... they function like very efficient machines, and get to focus on the 2 things that matter most to an organization: Marketing and Innovation. Even if you don't intend to build a franchise, it's more useful to think of how new processes can be, instead of a hindrance, a power tool for agility. 33 | P a g e Agile Entrepreneurship – Bending the Rules of Conventional Business
  34. 34. Turning Organization Learning Into Organizational Doing H O W T O J A C K U P Y O U R CO M P A NY ’ S I NT E R NA L G RO W T H H O R M O NE S By Mike Reining This is something I’m incredibly passionate about for 2 reasons: 1. I love learning new things, studying new things, and figuring things out. 2. I love doing new and interesting things. These 2 things are by far what I most enjoy in life. This was why I found my University experience lacking. It felt ‘incomplete’ in some way. Even though I graduated from a top business school and did my MBA at Stanford, I realized that although I had learned a lot, there was still a lot more to learn beyond the theory of the classroom. Many organizations place importance on organizational learning, too –from buying books to sending employees for training... How Does It Translate Into Actual Doing? Here’s how things have been working out for us so far. Every Tuesday, our employees gather and share their latest learning in marketing, strategy, personal development or new ideas. This is like a mini version of the popular TED conferences, held within the four walls of MindValley. At the end of the gathering, we decide:  What new knowledge can be directly translated into an actual test on one of our ventures?  What potential action items should be scheduled for future action? 34 | P a g e Agile Entrepreneurship – Bending the Rules of Conventional Business
  35. 35. Every Thursday, we get together again for a different purpose. We share results from previous tests, and train people on new skills that they can use to grow their ventures. Ideas Shared In This Session  Are either turned into a quot;how toquot; in our company Wiki  Or, if it's relevant to the public, we blog about it! You can see results of many of our sessions on our internet marketing blog, http://blog.mindvalleylabs.com And, to keep the learning curve going, we pay for our employees learning. So far, we've bought just about every information product in the internet marketing industry. Our goal is to soak up best practices and translate them into actionable items. If we act on even one good idea a month, it more than pays itself back! Another thing we have noticed was the effect of learning and sharing on the employees themselves.  Employee morale shot up dramatically – everyone felt like they could go out and become an expert on something.  They were on longer learning and working on their own as ‘lonely entrepreneurs’ – they were now learning and doing together as a team dedicated to helping each other out. How you turn organizational learning into doing may be different in your business or your industry, but if you can find the right balance, these sessions can really super-charge your business growth as you out-learn AND out-do your competitors. 35 | P a g e Agile Entrepreneurship – Bending the Rules of Conventional Business
  36. 36. Marketing First TH E F O R G O T T E N M E A N I N G OF M AR K E T I NG : H O W Y OU R CO M P A NY CO U L D B E B L E E D I N G P O T E N T I A L P R O F I T S AND NO O NE W OU L D K NO W AB O U T I T! By Mike Reining If you're interested in creating passionate users, or keeping your job, or breathing life into a startup, or getting others to contribute to your open source project, or getting your significant other to agree to the vacation you want to go on... congratulations. You're in marketing. You ARE a marketer, deal with it. ~ Kathy Sierra, of the popular “Creating Passionate Users” blog. Marketing? Someone may think about ‘marketing’…and think ‘sales’…and think ‘used-car salesmen’. Some people may even clump quot;marketingquot; together with quot;manipulationquot;, quot;selfishnessquot;, and quot;sleazequot;. You may not necessarily think this way. However, even if one person on your team does not quot;getquot; marketing, it is poison for your organization – even if he/she is not directly involved with marketing! Until everyone in the organization quot;getsquot; marketing, there will be a lot of friction in decision-making, and the things that really matter won’t be executed fast enough. And not being able to act fast enough is the #1 hindrance to agile entrepreneurship. This mental block is also a huge revenue block for any organization as individuals in your organization may be missing out, or even resisting actual opportunities to help or obtain more customers and increase revenues. 36 | P a g e Agile Entrepreneurship – Bending the Rules of Conventional Business
  37. 37. Organizations That Place “Marketing First” Experience Dramatic Results Vishen had the opportunity to meet with one such company, Agora Publishing. He had the privilege of talking to MaryEllen Tribby at the Strategic Profits Seminar in Los Angeles. MaryEllen Tribby is the group publisher of EarlyToRise.com, one of Agora’s most profitable web properties. Let’s take a look at their yearly revenue figures:  '04 – 3 million  '05 – 5 million  '06 – 8 million  '07 – 27 million  '08 – 36 million Notice the jump from '06 to '07? An almost 20 million dollar increase in revenues in one year! What’s the lesson here? Vishen asked MaryEllen what ‘mind-shift’ had led to that jump in revenue, because that is the real question. MaryEllen mentioned that every employee in her organization had to think like a marketer. They had to embrace quot;marketingquot;, and learn about testing and immediate, specific, and measurable tests. (MaryEllen’s advice is expanded on in our blog post, here.) Note: Not only the management or the marketing department had to think like a marketer… she said every single employee! Another example of what I mean can be found when we look at online retailer Zappos.com who did quot;almost nothingquot; in sales for 1999, but grossed over $800 million in merchandise sales in 2007, projecting over $1 billion in 2008. All the employees hired into their corporate office, regardless of position, are required to undergo a 4-week Customer Loyalty Training course, which includes at least 2 weeks of talking on the phone with customers in the call center! 37 | P a g e Agile Entrepreneurship – Bending the Rules of Conventional Business
  38. 38. Note that this applies to ALL employees hired into their corporate office –not just customer support staff. The First Step towards Transforming Your Company Start with the belief systems. When I became an entrepreneur, I quickly realized that if I were going to share anything worth offering to the world, I'd have to ‘sell’ it. I credit John Childers (probably one of the most gifted salesmen I have ever encountered) for changing my mind set towards marketing and selling. He got me thinking... If you have an unshakable belief in the value of your product or service, it is your failure and your fault that you're not helping the target user to get help, and to realize the value of your offering. Moreover, when you really do create a product and service that you know, deep down inside, will help your customer get out of their problem, you have nothing to be afraid of. In fact, you should feel the driving need to go out and help them. How Does This Relate To Agile Entrepreneurship? When every individual in your organization feels this way about marketing,  Everyone thinks about how their actions will eventually affect the customer experience or help attract potential customers.  Tasks that help to acquire new customers will be given higher priority, which is usually the means to increasing revenue.  Ideas and product features etc will be discussed with the user –and not personal preferences – in mind. And soon, you'll see your entire organization rally behind a growth oriented direction and quickly execute tasks that truly contribute to revenue growth and customer delight! 38 | P a g e Agile Entrepreneurship – Bending the Rules of Conventional Business
  39. 39. quot;Business has only two basic functions: Marketing and Innovation.quot; ~ Peter Drucker 39 | P a g e Agile Entrepreneurship – Bending the Rules of Conventional Business
  40. 40. Is there A “Smart” Way To Innovate? A R E Y OU M A K I N G T H E DE A D L I E S T I NNO V A T I O N M I S TA K E A N E NT R E P R E NE U R CA N E VE R M A K E ? By Mike Reining I’m not sure if many people get fooled by quot;innovationquot; the way I did, but if you are a victim, some costly mistakes have taught me that you'll suffer from a lot of extra work, and closed doors to genuine opportunities for profitable innovation. This is what happened to me. I started out with a really good track record. I was the 4.0 student, and I rose fast in my corporate career with the world's best companies. I was used to playing safe, and getting things right. And then, I left it all to become an entrepreneur. I thought to myself, quot;OK. With this new company, we're going to innovate! And do some things the world has never seen...quot; Turns out, I was not so smart after all, chasing ideas quot;nobodyquot; has never thought of, building things internally when I could have used 3rd party software, refusing to quot;followquot; even proven marketing strategies employed by our competitors, and the list goes on... Just imagine the implications of this. After 4 years, I learned the real shortcut to success, and what innovation really means in the context of business growth. 1. Take a look at market leaders in your industry, and other industries. Study them. Take their successful models, and try them. 2. Once you've duplicated proven systems, process and business models – rapidly improve on them! Once upon a time, I would not dare look at a competitor and say, quot;Wow, what did they do to get here? Perhaps I should try that too.quot; I would rather try to do things differently. 40 | P a g e Agile Entrepreneurship – Bending the Rules of Conventional Business
  41. 41. Today, we go beyond our own industry to study successful businesses – and see what they've figured out – so we can quickly test and improve upon. In return, we blog about the exact strategies, and share it with the world via our blog, to contribute to the overall innovation of marketing and management. Innovation does not exclusively mean inventing or creating something new, it can also mean building on what works! Find out what works – and quickly improve on that. 41 | P a g e Agile Entrepreneurship – Bending the Rules of Conventional Business
  42. 42. Radical Transparency W H Y OP E N I N G U P Y O U R B US I NE S S T O TH E W OR L D CA N H E L P YO U G RO W By Vishen Lakhiani In quot;Straight From the Gutquot;, Jack Welch spoke about the boundaryless organization, where lines between partners, suppliers and customers blur to promote greater responsiveness and flexibility between them. A year ago, Wired magazine predicted quot;Radical Transparencyquot; as the business trend for 2007. They talked about CEOs who blog openly about their strategy, as well as employees with blogs ushering in a new era of honesty between customers and the organization. I never took any of this too seriously, though. But, we seem to have taken quot;Radical Transparencyquot; and the quot;Boundaryless Organizationquot; to a whole new level especially for a startup...accidentally! We started off by being very transparent internally. We discuss strategy and company decisions openly before they're finalized. Everyone's details, each person's to-do list, for example, are shared via internal software. Even an intern can see what's on the founder's to-do list! Key ideas are open to the entire world. On the blog, even our competitors bidding on the same keywords in the pay-per-click advertising market can read about how we're doing what we do, and follow suit. We like to think of this as open-source strategy as blog readers tend to innovate on our ideas, and give us great suggestions too. And remember the learning and training sessions we run every Tuesday and Thursday? Outsiders are invited to observe – even competitors! A couple of months ago, the cofounder of a Finnish web development company who built identical web applications in the same market space was invited to one of our sessions. We're not just connecting with our clients, partners, and competitors. 42 | P a g e Agile Entrepreneurship – Bending the Rules of Conventional Business
  43. 43. A lot of our businesses operate in the personal development industry. We recently launched a web community where we connect our clients, partners and competitors! You'd think all this is a huge mistake because we may be losing out on a lot of joint venture partners and new business opportunities. This may happen, but we're way more excited about the upside to this radical transparency. Competitors have come back to us with business proposals. And we get a lot more joint venture proposals than we need – at the time of writing, we have a 1 year waiting list! I'm not sure why this works so well, but I believe it could be because people experiencing our sharing and openness see us as likeable, genuine, helpful people – people they want to work with. But this is what excites me most goes beyond being transparent with stakeholders… I want to be transparent with the world! 43 | P a g e Agile Entrepreneurship – Bending the Rules of Conventional Business
  44. 44. Core Identity T H E M Y S T E R I O U S M I N D - H A C K T O B RI NG O U T T H E B E S T I N Y OU R TE A M M E M B E R S By Vishen Lakhiani On the day after Martin Luther King Jr. was murdered in April 1968, Jane Elliott's third graders from the small, all-white town of Riceville, Iowa, came to class confused and upset. They recently had made King their quot;Hero of the Month,quot; and they couldn't understand why someone would kill him. So Elliott decided to teach her class a daring lesson in the meaning of discrimination. She wanted to show her pupils what discrimination feels like, and what it can do to people. Elliott divided her class by eye color -- those with blue eyes and those with brown. On the first day, the blue-eyed children were told they were smarter, nicer, neater, and better than those with brown eyes. Throughout the day, Elliott praised them and allowed them privileges such as a taking a longer recess and being first in the lunch line. In contrast, the brown-eyed children had to wear collars around their necks and their behavior and performance were criticized and ridiculed by Elliott. On the second day, the roles were reversed and the blue-eyed children were made to feel inferior while the brown eyes were designated the dominant group. What happened over the course of the unique two-day exercise astonished both students and teacher. On both days, children who were designated as inferior took on the look and behavior of genuinely inferior students, performing poorly on tests and other work. In contrast, the quot;superiorquot; students -- students who had been sweet and tolerant before the exercise -- became mean-spirited and seemed to like discriminating against the quot;inferiorquot; group. quot;I watched what had been marvelous, cooperative, wonderful, thoughtful children turn into nasty, vicious, discriminating little third-graders in a space of fifteen minutes,quot; says Elliott. She says she realized then that she had quot;created a microcosm of society in a third-grade classroom.quot; An excerpt from http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/divided/ What Does This Have To Do With Agile Entrepreneurship? 44 | P a g e Agile Entrepreneurship – Bending the Rules of Conventional Business
  45. 45. Your expectations of people and their expectations of themselves directly affect actual behavior! Here's how this completely changed to way I work with my team. After being with us for 3 months –we carry out an exercise with individual members of team that involves planning an ideal day in their future life. Questions to help them visualize this include: Where would you live?  What would your house look like?  What time would you wake up?  What would you do in the morning?  What would you do in the first hour of your day?  Who would you eat with?  What would you eat?  What would your friends be like?  What would you do for personal fulfillment?  What purpose would you strive for?  What would your business be?  What would you actually do for work?  What are your clients like?  What are your relationships like?  What would you do for family time?  What would you have for dinner?  What would you talk about over dinner?  What would you do at night?  Who would you do it with?  Where would you be?  Where would you do it?  What would your thoughts be as you go to sleep?  Asking these questions triggers something in your brain – you come up with ideas of who you want to be… 45 | P a g e Agile Entrepreneurship – Bending the Rules of Conventional Business
  46. 46. …what’s your perfect day? Now – employees come up with identities for themselves.  One of them wants to be a personal development guru.  One of them wants to be a thought leader / blogger. Frank Kern, an internet marketer we admire, called this the Core Identity. Once someone has decided on a core identity:  He/ she should make it known, and start behaving more and more like who they really want to be.  Others, especially management, should start treating them as they would expect their core identity to behave. For example, Katalina first joined us as a trainee. After a few months, her core identity started taking shape. She wanted to earn a residual income and be a respected business owner in the personal development industry. What Did This Mean To Us? We started treating Katalina as thought she already reached her goal. We treat her as a peer, a real business partner, soliciting her advice on key decisions relating to the Silva venture she was coordinating. Amazing things happened. Her performance accelerated – she started living and acting like the person she really wants to be. quot;Give them a fine reputation to live up to.quot; ~ Dale Carnegie Here’s how you can exercise this. Let’s say, people at your company want to be promoted. You have them go through a goal setting exercise, craft the perfect day, or whatever exercise you subscribe to. 46 | P a g e Agile Entrepreneurship – Bending the Rules of Conventional Business
  47. 47. Get them to look into themselves to see who they want to be – and make sure you make a commitment – to treat them more and more like who they really want to be. You may start to listen to them more, you may start to trust and delegate more. This may be a stretch in logic for some people, but people do tend to want to live up their own expectations. If you can help them, it will accelerate their growth, and create a really motivated, supportive work environment to be in. 47 | P a g e Agile Entrepreneurship – Bending the Rules of Conventional Business
  48. 48. The End of the Beginning… CHANGE IS GROWTH – THE MORE YOU CHANGE, THE MORE YOU GROW. We believe that Agile Entrepreneurship is dynamic and radical, so watch out for future editions because as we grow, we will continue to learn and share. With that, we wish you great success! Do tell us your story, what you think of this product, and keep in touch! Sincerely, Mike and Vishen, MindValley Labs Contact: mike@mindvalley.com MindValley Labs is giving away sections of its full marketing course, which you can get, right now, by clicking here. Check out our other Special Reports: 101 Winning AdWords Ads AdWords System Exposed Landing Page Setup Guide 48 | P a g e Agile Entrepreneurship – Bending the Rules of Conventional Business